Monday, May 31, 2010

Take Care of the Troops...

Last week the Get Motivated! business seminar rolled through the city in which I live. The attractive line-up of successful speakers drew me to the event and it did not disappoint. It was an opportunity to be coached by some very dynamic achievers who shared their sensational wisdom on both a professional and personal level.

One speaker that took the stage by storm with his leadership message was General Colin Powell – who after years of distinguished military service, served as both the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under United States President Clinton and Secretary of State for United States President George W. Bush. The crowd expected a point-blank message yet General Powell gave so much more. He showed his courageous leadership through military experiences, but also gave insight to his family. With humor and a huge smile, he shared a story about his grandson encouraging grandpa to learn to text and use Facebook.

We learned of how General Powell interacted with famous dignitaries as well as immigrant hot dog vendors all in the same day – showing us that the role of the leader in an organization is to convey the mission with a passion. He reminded everyone that the best leaders get everyone vibrating with the purpose. When the leader can effectively communicate, with each person on the team, their individual purpose, that is when the organization will succeed. People are looking for leaders who will ‘take care of the troops’. The only thing heard in the arena at this point was the sound of pens and pencils hitting note paper.

General Powell solidified his message of leaders ‘taking care of the troops’ with a rather simplistic example. It seems the power of a small, plain white 3X5 note card may be understated. This legendary soldier-statesman believes that people need to know they are appreciated – no matter what their role on the team may be. He shared an impactful story of how he one day removed an inexpensive note card out of his pocket, wrote a brief note of appreciation and ‘glad you are on the team’ sentiment and placed the card where a quiet unassuming team member, whom the General had little contact with, could find it. After much time had passed, General Powell found himself in this young man’s house for whatever reason. There on the wall, was the 3x5 note card exquisitely framed and delicately mounted.

The words of the General Colin Powell resonated through the arena:

10 seconds of my time and 2 cents from my wallet equaled a $150 framed memory for one young man.

Let people know they are appreciated. Let them know you are glad they are a part of the team. People are looking for leaders who will ‘take care of the troops’.

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